December 2011


  The Christmas Season

PRAYING FOR OPEN DOORS DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON:  I am thankful for all our upcoming Holiday ministries.  Our church family is certainly in high gear and many people have come forward to organize and support these ministries.

Our Christmas Church dinner promises to be an extremely delightful opportunity for the church family to enjoy each other and celebrate together the birth of our Savior.  Let us pray that God will richly bless our fellowship during this special evening!  Pray for Al and CC, Scott, Dennis and the Women’s Ministry Team as they prepare this special evening for us and the guests we invite.  Pray also for David Watts who will be doing the Christmas devotion.


Other church events, such as our Missionary gifts and cards, the Christmas caroling night, this afternoon’s Christmas service at Atterdag Village, our Christmas newspaper article, and our Sunday morning Christmas service, are great opportunities for us to bring the light of the gospel to those who do not know the Lord.  Please pray for Dennis who will be preaching the Christmas message on Sunday morning!


I want to encourage you to get together during this month frequently with your family to pray for these outreach ministries.  Please pray for those who are lost and who may be exposed to the gospel through our ministries.  Please pray for God to lead you as you consider which of your neighbors and friends within the community to invite to the Christmas worship service.

As I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon, one verse that is particularly encouraging to me as I pray for unbelievers is Col 4:2-3.  Here Paul asks the church to pray for him that he would have an open door through which to give the gospel to those without Christ.  An open door in Scripture is a door which previously was shut and which was opened and kept open by God’s omnipotent power [See also Acts 14:27; 2 Cor 2:12; Rev 3:8].  Remember also the watchful prayer in Ps 5:3 – “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my

voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to you and eagerly watch.”


Do you know people in the community who are not yet ready to receive the Lord?  The door of their hearts may presently be shut to the gospel.  Let us pray that God Himself will break down their defenses, distractions, excuses and resistance.  Let us pray that God will move them to receive our church invitations and then respond to the gospel.  Can you not envision the delight we all would have at their baptisms as they glorify the Lord? 


The Christmas present which we should offer to the Lord as a church is our diligent effort to bring the light to the lost!  Let’s do our part and then trust Him for the powerful results!


GREETING VISITORS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON:  Lord willing, during this Christmas season many new visitors will be attending our Church.  Some will be relatives of our congregation.  Others will come to church in response to our personal invitations and church advertisements.


The Scriptures indicate that when guests come into God’s house it is our job to greet them with Christian hospitality.  The term “hospitality” in Scripture is a compound word combining the word for love with the term for stranger – it means love for the stranger.


We are to reach out with Christ’s love for the stranger – toward those with whom we are not yet well acquainted.  [See for example 1 Peter 4:9; Heb 13:1, 2; Rom 12:13].  Christ’s love actively seeks out those who are strangers to embrace them and make them feel welcome.  During this season, let His love overcome any shyness on our parts, and let His grace enable us to welcome those who come to church.  He loves these “strangers”; His love abides within us.  Let’s apply His love to them in our warm greetings.


PRAYING FOR THE LORD’S DIRECTION DURING THE NEW YEAR:  God has provided us with much direction for ministry during the Holidays.  But the New Year is just around the corner, and we need to call upon God to direct our paths.  The leadership of our Church presently is looking to the Lord for His leading.  We want to have the Lord’s “agenda” for His own church.  Please pray diligently that God will guide us.


With this in mind, please pray for the Board of Elders and Deacons as they seek God’s leading.  Pray specifically for our December 13th Board meeting.  We need God’s wisdom which He gives to those who ask in faith – James 1:5.  As you pray for our Board and God’s provision for our leadership, please remember that this will be Dennis’ last meeting with us as the Chairman of our Board.  We need God’s grace, and your prayers!


PRAYING FOR THOSE WHO ARE GRIEVING DURING THE HOLIDAYS:  Throughout this month, let us remember to pray daily for those who are carrying sadness in their hearts because they are celebrating the Christmas season without beloved members of their family who have died.  Devote yourselves to pray for those in affliction of whatever kind during this season.

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427